Shoot to kill: Media Enforcer stalks Napster

One programmer says the Napster phenomenon is getting out of hand. Enter the Enforcer
Written by Richard Barry, Contributor

An anti-Napster program called the Media Enforcer has been created by an anonymous programmer who claims he is interested in curtailing piracy.

Media Enforcer stalks Napster, gathering the names of music files being offered on the service and the names of those downloading them. Essentially, the Enforcer automates what Metallica and Dr. Dre paid NetPD to do in their legal battle against Napster.

According to the programmer behind Media Enforcer, future iterations of the program will stalk Gnutella -- the open source clone of Napster -- and CuteMX.

In an interview with Zeropaid.com the programmer talks about how Media Enforcer could even throw a spanner in the workings of Napster's would-be successor 'Freenet'.

The programmer reveals he has received several death threats from members of the technical community who see his efforts as serving the fat cats of the music industry. "What is this guy doing?" says one ZDNet reader in an email. "Providing an already paranoid [music] industry with the tools to hunt down individuals so the muzos can line their pockets with even more money seems perverted to me."

Media Enforcer has been downloaded "thousands" of times according to the programmer, who concedes during the interview that it will never be as popular as Napster or its clones. "Finding pirates is much less popular than finding MP3s," he says.

Can MP3 kill the music industry? Are consumers being ripped off? Does the price of a CD encourage piracy? Go to the TalkBack forums and join in the "Napster Debate" online.

Emusic.com's 24 year old CEO Gene Hoffman says MP3s are all about convenience -- not piracy, lawsuits or free music. Go to AnchorDesk UK and read the news comment.

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